DEC Announces Annual Temporary Closure of Three North Shore Shellfishing Areas
Three North Shore Areas to Close July 2, Expected to Reopen July 8
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the annual temporary closure of three shellfishing areas on the North Shore of Long Island during the upcoming Fourth of July holiday period. These closures are imposed during busy holidays to protect public health from potentially contaminated shellfish associated with increased boating activity in shellfishing waters. Boaters are reminded to use pump-out facilities to help protect these waters.
“DEC closes these waters on Long Island’s North Shore to shell fishing each year during the Fourth of July holiday due to the increase in recreational boating,” Commissioner Seggos said. “To protect our natural resources and public health, I strongly encourage boaters to use pump-out facilities, act responsibly, and be mindful of the no-discharge zones in Port Jefferson Harbor, Oyster Bay Harbor, and the Sand Hole.”
Since 1995, DEC has designated these areas as temporarily uncertified for the harvest of shellfish during the Fourth of July and Labor Day holidays. During peak holiday periods, discharges from marine sanitation devices (toilets) may contaminate nearby shellfish beds with pathogenic bacteria or viruses, rendering the shellfish unsafe for human consumption.
DEC will designate the following areas on the North Shore of Long Island as closed to the harvest of shellfish beginning at sunrise on Friday, July 2, and continuing through Wednesday, July 7:
- 445 acres in a section of Oyster Bay Harbor, town of Oyster Bay, Nassau County;
- 347 acres in northern Port Jefferson Harbor, town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County; and
- 50 acres in the area known as the Sand Hole, town of Huntington, Suffolk County.
Shellfish harvesting is expected to resume in these areas on Thursday, July 8. If poor weather causes fewer boaters to visit these areas, DEC may rescind the closure and reopen the areas to harvesting prior to July 8.
A recorded message advising the public about temporary closures of any shellfishing areas in New York State is accessible 24 hours a day by calling (631) 444-0480. The recorded message also advises harvesters when such areas have reopened. Information, including maps showing the affected areas, is available on DEC’s website.
Boaters should be aware that Oyster Bay Harbor, Port Jefferson Harbor, and the Sand Hole are designated as no-discharge zones in their entirety. A no-discharge zone is a designated body of water where the discharge of treated or untreated boat sewage is prohibited. Boaters in these areas should utilize the pump-out facilities listed below:
- Oyster Bay Harbor (West Harbor): One pump-out boat is operated by the town of Oyster Bay at no cost to boaters. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. Contact the pump-out boat via marine radio VHF channel 9 or by cell phone at (516) 375-9864. In addition, the town provides two pump-out stations on floats near the Oyster Bay Marine Center and Waterfront Park and a land-based pump-out in the town marina at Theodore Roosevelt Park.
- Port Jefferson Harbor: The town of Brookhaven operates a pump-out boat (no fee) in Port Jefferson Harbor. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Boaters may contact the town’s pump-out boat via marine radio VHF channel 73. In addition, the town provides a pump out station on its transient dock, east of the boat launch ramp, west of the charter fishing vessels.
- The Sand Hole (Lloyd Neck): Although there are no facilities within the Sand Hole, boaters should contact the town of Oyster Bay pump-out boat as noted above. There also is a land-based pump-out facility at Powle’s Marine Center in Cold Spring Harbor. In addition, boaters traveling from town of Huntington waters can request the services of the town’s pump-out boat (no fee) by calling on marine radio VHF channel 9. There are also a number of land-based pump-out facilities at marinas in Northport Harbor and Huntington Harbor.
A full list of No Discharge Zones in New York State (leaves DEC’s website), including other Long Island waters, can be found on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website.
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